ESPN Star Sports presenter Jason Dacey hints at new feature show later this year

Popular ESPN Star Sports presenter Jason Dacey, the host of Sportsline, is looking at hosting a weekly feature show before the year is through.

Dacey, who hosts the daily news programme Sportsline Today and Sportsline Tonight on Star Sports at 7 am and 7:30 pm respectively, is currently in India to garner "feedback from journalists and sports enthusiasts about his show".

Dacey said that the feedback he had received was enouraging. Dacey has been hosting the show since November 2001 and took up the assignment as "it was refreshing and presented a challenge". He came on board ESPN having hosted World Sport for CNN in America. Elaborating on how the show is put together, Dacey says research for each Sportsline episode takes about 12 hours and there are two teams monitoring proceedings from around the world. The first team comes in at 6 am and there is quite a gap between then and the time of programme airing. A lot of thought and planning goes into the conceptualising and editing of each episode, Dacey says.

As far as further programming for the channel is concerned, Dacey said that later in the year a weekly feature show would be launched. The logistics for the show are currently being worked out, says Dacey. The aim is to develop stories which get only a minute's coverage on Sportsline into a full length feature. An in-depth look at the stories that make the headlines as well as an inside look at sports personalities in the spotlight are things that viewers can look forward to.

Prior to his stint at ESPN Star Sports, Dacey has worked with both the major world broadcasters BBC and CNN. According to Dacey, the British broadcaster has better global coverage as compared to its American counterpart. CNN focusses on major stories and the coverage has an American slant, says Dacey. The ESPN show, like BBC programmes, has a global flavour by covering events all over the world like Formula One Racing and the Grand Slam tournaments of tennis and Golf, he adds.

While other sports do get a mention, cricket still holds pride of place in the scheme of things and will continue to be the show driver, Dacey avers. Coming attractions on the show will include India's tour to the West Indies with live reports and discussions with experts from the Carribean just before each day's play. India's tour of England will also be covered.

Asked to name his favourite commentators, Dacey says he enjoys discussing cricket happenings with Navjot Singh Sidhu and Geoffrey Boycott and likes the way that both tell it straight.

Regarding India he said: Although this is only my second trip, I have a long connection with India because of my love for Indian cricket and love for Indian food. Jason is a vegetarian by choice and points out that he became one in London during the late 1980's as he found English food bland. There was also the looming threat of mad cow's disease at the time.

Commenting further on the country, he expressed surprise at the high level of knowledge Indian youngsters possess. Another point of note was that people were avid readers and were thus able to keep abreast of current issues. He cited the ESPN School Quiz Olympiad as an example, saying that the kids acquitted themselves admirably.

Besides cricket, the show would keep track of leading Indian personalities in other sports, most notably tennis and golf. He mentioned the role Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have played in increasing the popularity of tennis.

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